ISL 2017: Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu leaves Stabaek, to join ISL
In what is an interesting set of developments in Indian football, national team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is set to make a return to India with the Indian Super League.
The Norwegian transfer window closes today and Gurpreet, who has been at Stabaek for three years now, has now left the club, according to a report in the Norwegian publication Budstikka.
Stabaek have now confirmed his departure with a statement on their official website: "John Alvbåge is loaned from IFK Göteborg to Stabæk in the season. The 35-year-old keeper replaces Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who leaves for Indian football."
The report quoted current Stabaek manager Toni Ordinas as saying: "Singh has been a good person to have in the club, and has developed a lot in time in Stabæk. Now he has made a club change which I think will be good for him."
Ordinas' comments about Gurpreet come as a surprise since he was the man who promoted the goalkeeper ahead of Ivorian Mande Sayouba earlier in the season. However, he leaked seven goals in two Eliteserien appearances leading to Mande being reinstated and Gurpreet relegated to the bench.
It remains to be seen what his next destination is. It is believed that the Indian Super League is the next stop for the six-foot-four stopper, with the likes of Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters being tipped as the early favourites to land the 25-year-old.
The man from Chandigarh joined Stabaek in August 2014 from East Bengal and set numerous records during his time in Norway. He became the first Indian player to play in the top division of a European league and also featured in the Europa League, although his time on the pitch on that occasion was cut short due to injury.
Until now, Gurpreet was the only current Indian national team player to ply his trade abroad but that situation stands to change in the remaining hours of the Norwegian transfer window.
Whether it is a setback or an opportunity to take a bite of the cash-rich ISL for Gurpreet remains to be seen, but the India number one will have significantly reduced his European prospects after his Stabaek exit. The player, who was reportedly on €3500 per month wages at Stabaek, will have more lucrative avenues in India to explore.
Bengaluru FC have a big announcement tomorrow, just in case.